When U.S. Army First Lieutenant Todd Weaver of Hampton, Virginia, was killed by an IED during his second tour of Afghanistan, the 26-year-old soldier left behind his loving wife Emma and a baby girl named Kiley, who would be too young to remember her loving father. Todd realized this fate was a possibility, so prior to his death, he did something about it. His wife, however, wouldn’t find out until days after his funeral.
Along with her husband’s remains, Emma received her husband’s laptop, which he had used during his deployment. Grief-stricken and burdened with the responsibility of having her husband laid to rest, Emma didn’t get a chance to really look at the device until two days after Todd’s funeral.
After the decorated officer’s body was flown home, a memorial service was held so friends and family could pay their respects, and instead of flowers, loved ones were asked to make a contribution to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. Two days later, Emma finally opened the laptop Todd had in Afghanistan. That’s when she saw something that made her freeze.
When Emma learned the heartbreaking news that her loving husband and the father of her baby had died in an explosion in Afghanistan, the harsh realization that she would never get to say goodbye must have been so painful for the young widow. However, Todd left something for his wife and his baby girl in the event of his death, and it had been right there on his computer all along.
Although she couldn’t believe what she was seeing, right there in front of her were two Word documents on the computer’s desktop. One was named “Dear Emma,” while the other was marked “Dear Kiley.” Almost immediately, the reality struck Emma, who realized that her husband had left a message for her and their daughter, should he not make it home alive. Emma began to read the goodbye letters from her husband:
Well if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you.
I love you so much baby and I will always love you. Although I may not be here right now, take comfort in the fact that I am watching over you right now.
I am not gone and I will always be with you in spirit. I know this time must be hard for you but I also know how strong you are.
Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born. Take comfort in that. This happened for a reason. Although you may not believe it now, you will one day.
I want you to know just how important you are to me. I could not ask for a more caring, beautiful and loving wife. The memories that we have shared over the last few years have been the best of my life. Although it may seem like my life was cut short, I lived a life that most can only dream of. I married the perfect woman. I have a beautiful daughter that amazed me every day.
I even had two great dogs — at least most of the time. I couldn’t ask for anything more. If you feel sad, just think back to the memories that we shared. Look at our daughter and how beautiful she is.
Be strong for her. Remind her about her Daddy and tell her that I loved her more than anything else in the world. Her birth was the best day of my life and she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Her smile and laughter represent all that is good and beautiful in this world.
Tell her that Daddy is in heaven now and will watch over her and protect her every minute of every day. I love you, Emma. But never be afraid to do what you need to do to be happy. It is so important that you continue to find happiness in your life. Although you may think this is impossible right now, have faith.
Much better times are coming. You and Kiley have a wonderful life ahead of you and I am so happy to have shared some of it with you.
I love you.
Your loving Husband,
Not only had Todd poured his heart out to his wife, he had also written an amazing and inspirational letter for his young daughter. Although it hurt to read his words, it was obvious that they were chosen to give both Emma and Kiley strength after he was gone. Todd’s second letter was for Kiley, who was just 9-months-old:
Dear Kiley, My Sweetie:
Although you may not remember me, I want you to know how very much your Daddy loves you.
I left for Afghanistan when you were 9 months old.
Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
You are so very special to me sweetie — you are truly a gift from God.
The best day of my life was the day you were born.
Every time I saw you smile my heart would just melt.
You were my sweetie — my life was not complete until you were born.
I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up.
But remember, your Daddy is not gone. I am in heaven now smiling down on you every day.
You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful Mom to take care of you.
Make sure you are good for her and help her out whenever you can.
Always remember to say your prayers at night and be thankful for all your many blessings.
Never forget how important and special you are to so many people.
We love you so very much. When you get older and start school, do your best and try to learn as much as you can about the world you live in.
Always be nice and caring to others and you will discover that the world will be nice to you.
But when things aren’t going your way, never forget that God knows what is best for you and everything will work out in the end.
You have such a bright and beautiful future ahead of you.
Have fun. Enjoy it. And remember, your Daddy will always be proud of you and will always love you.
You are and will always be my sweetie.
With very much love,
The letters to each of the leading ladies in Todd Weaver’s short life were emotional, yet strong, showing his bravery as he served, knowing he could end up making the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Emma wrote in her online blog, A Day in the Life, that although the words were “so hard” to read, they brought her peace and courage.
“I couldn’t imagine being at war and seeing what he did every day and then having the courage to write goodbye letters to the ones you love. He was so strong,” Emma wrote, adding that Todd’s words have given her “Courage to tackle each day with the same spirit he would have.”
Always wanting to remember his encouraging words, she had the letters superimposed on photos. Her letter was placed over the couple’s wedding picture, while young Kiley’s is displayed along a photo of her with her dad, reading to her when she was around a week old, according to Daily Mail.
Both letters have been proudly displayed on the wall of Emma’s home. “Although they are private letters I have thought long and hard about how significant they are and the importance of sharing the depth of wisdom Todd had for being 26 years old at the time of his death,” Emma explained.
Even those who don’t support acts of war should honor and pay tribute to those who stand up for us and risk their lives when duty calls. Lieutenant Todd Weaver was one of those courageous soldiers. He lost his life leading a platoon to protect his country, and his bravery was not only unmatched but unfathomable to many.
To fight a war and write what he did to his wife and child at just 26 years old is something most cannot begin to imagine. Not only was he fearless, he knew something many don’t realize until it’s too late: Never wait to let your loved ones know how you feel because you don’t know if you will get the chance later.